BIRMINGHAM, England — Sprinting great Elaine Thompson-Herah was a picture of relief and gratefulness after winning gold in the women's 100m at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham last night as she added another high point in a tough season that she has described as a learning experience for her.
The fastest woman alive — by her own lofty standards — has stuttered over her last few races, with her World Championships 100m bronze being followed by a surprising seventh-place finish in the 200m and a less-than-impressive leg in Jamaica's 4x100m silver medal run.
Winning gold at the Commonwealth Games may not carry the same gloss as the heights of the World Championships or the Olympics, which she dominated in 2021 with three gold medals, but for her, her success in Birmingham was a testament of resilience and a reminder that she still has the appetite and class to fight her way back to the top.
"I think this motivates me a lot to get better and better. This season has been a learning process for me, I've learned so much and I'm just really happy," said a beaming Thompson-Herah.
"My emotions right now, I would say it's a relief because when you think about running at a championship and to come back and run at another championship, that takes a lot out of you to come back here and win a title. I am super grateful but it's a relief at the same time, and I have to give God thanks that I crossed the line healthy," she added.
Thompson-Herah left the blocks in a hurry but did not show her usual mid-race pulling-away power, leaving her to really push at the end to secure her first individual medal at the Commonwealth Games, clocking 10.95sec and holding off St Lucia's Julien Alfred 11.01sec and England's late-charging Daryll Neita 11.07sec. Natalliah Whyte was eight in 11.32 seconds.
It was Jamaica's second medal of the day after Danniel Thomas-Dodd, who posted 18.98m, was forced to settle for silver in the women's shot put final, losing the gold medal in the final round when Canada's Sarah Mitton 19.03m promoted herself to the gold medal. Madison-Lee Wesche (New Zealand), 18.84m, was third with another Jamaican, Lloydricria Cameron, 17.62m, finishing fourth.
"It's a big accomplishment, no one has any medals put down for them. You have to go out there and compete for it and I did so I'm super happy with that. You know, it's always good to finish on the podium because not a lot of people can say they have and I'm happy with that," said Thomas-Dodd.
Meanwhile, Thompson-Herah says she continues to learn more about herself throughout this challenging season and has been ignoring what she described as 'noise' from her critics.
"I'm a tough cookie. For most of this year I had a shoulder injury that I never had before and of course, if you don't have your hands you cannot run as fast … dealing with the Achilles injury; to have Achilles and shoulder issues; this season was a very challenging one, but I managed to pull through. I am here standing with a gold medal today. I have to just continue to work through pain because there are a lot of people out there jumping and running through pain and I don't want to come out here for pity, I just want to come out here and perform."
"I know a lot of noise is being made because I did not perform at my best this year but no one knows my struggles. I will work through that to get back in the shape that I want to be.
This is a learning process for me, being in a new group, a new team and I am adjusting and I know and believe that everything will be fine," Thompson-Herah added.
There is a lot of fire in me, I know what I'm capable of, and I know I'm one of the greatest female sprinters of all time and I want to be that athlete, so I'm working towards that, but my name will never be taken out of that history book it's always going to be there even when I'm retired. But I learned a lot this year and I think it puts me in a spot to say 'okay, I know what I can do, I know what I'm capable of doing, I know how to deal with injuries and treat them properly."
In the men's high jump final, Romaine Beckford, 2.19m, finished seventh with New Zealand's Hamish Kerr, 2.25m, taking the gold on countback, Australia's Brandon Starc, 2.25m, winning silver, and India's Tejaswin Shankar, 2.22m, claiming bronze.
All three men are through to the semi-finals of the 400m. Nathon Allen, 45.18, and Anthony Cox, 45.51, won their respective heats with the second and third fastest times among qualifiers, while National champion Jevaughn Powell, 46.14, was comfortable in second place in his round-one run.
Tiffany James withdrew from the women's 400m but Junelle Bromfield, 52.04, who was second in her heat, is the lone Jamaican qualifier in the event as Roneisha McGregor could only manage 53.28 and fifth in her heat.
In badminton action, Katherine Wynter and Joel Angus beat Maarten King and Tamisha Williams from Barbados 4-1 in the mixed doubles round of 64, with Samuel Ricketts beating Australia's Jacob Schueler 2-0 in the men's singles round of 64.
Ricketts and Tahlia Richardson defeated Falkland Islands' Duane March and Laura Harada 2-0 in mixed doubles play but Angus fell to Mauritius' Alexandre Bongout 0-2 in his men's singles round of 64 assignment and Wynter lost her women's singles round of 64 match 0-2 against Singapore's Khan Insyirah.
Boxer Jerone Ennis lost his light heavyweight bout against Welshman Taylor Bevan, while Judo's Steven Moore fell to Seychelles Dominic Dugasse.
Robert Simpson lost 21-9 and 21-9 to Carel Olivier (Namibia) and Jamie Walker (England) in men's lawn bowls sectional play and Solesha Young's 4-1 win over Jenny Campbell from Kenya was the only success among the island's table tennis players.